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French Horn          Return to list of instruments
French Horn

The  horn is usually called the French Horn in English, but is more simply called corno = horn in Italian, and the equivalent of 'horn' in other languages. The horn is a brass instrument widely used in the orchestra, and loved especially by composers from the romantic period, because of its rich and mellow tone. It came into regular orchestral use about 1815 when the valve horn was invented.

The French Horn is a coiled conical brass tube ending in a wide bell. The mouth-piece is shaped like a funnel. Horns with 3 valves may be in either F (the higher-pitched instrument) or in Bb.  In more recent times, a 4-valve horn is widely used, called the double horn, which effectively combines both F and Bb horns into one, because the 4th valve extends the tube length to that of the Bb horn. Its range is 4 octaves,  from F1 (2.5 octaves below middle C) up to F5 (1.5 octaves above middle C).

The horn is hard to play well, notes tend to crack up, especially at the low and high ends of the range. In the hands of an expert, it has a stunningly beautiful and penetrating tone.

The modern horn originates from the ancient long straight hunting horn, which evolved in France into a coiled hunting horn, and then was further refined in Germany into the instrument we know today.


Music featuring the French Horn. Audio is available for 57 tunes for this instrument.
No.Name of WorkCategoryComposer
1 Academic Festival Overture Op.80OvertureBrahms
2 Also Sprach Zarathustra - intro themeTone PoemStrauss-Richard
3 Away in a MangerSacredVarious
4 Belle of the BallWaltzAnderson
5 Divertimento in Bb major 'St Anthony Chorale'.Chamber MusicHaydn
6 Festival Overture 1812OvertureTchaikovsky
7 Fidelio Overture Op 72bOvertureBeethoven
8 Frère JacquesFolk SongVarious
9 Hickory Dickory Dock, the Mouse Ran up the ClockNursery RhymesVarious
10 Horn Concerto No.1 in D K412ConcertoMozart
11 Horn Concerto No.2 in Eb major K417ConcertoMozart
12 Horn Concerto No.3 in Eb K447ConcertoMozart
13 Horn Concerto No.4 in Eb major K495ConcertoMozart
14 L'Arlesienne Suites Nos 1 and 2.SuiteBizet
15 Men of HarlechFolk SongVarious
16 My Fair LadyPopular SongsLoewe
17 Pavanne for a Dead InfantaShort PieceRavel
18 Poet and Peasant OvertureOvertureSuppé
19 Quintet for piano and woodwinds, K452Chamber MusicMozart
20 Sinfonia Concertante in Eb for winds, K297bConcertoMozart
21 Symphony No.3 in Eb "Eroica"SymphonyBeethoven
22 Symphony No.4 in Eb - RomanticSymphonyBruckner
23 Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op 67 "Fate"SymphonyBeethoven
24 Till Eulenspiegels Lustige StreicheTone PoemStrauss-Richard
25 Waltzing MatildaFolk SongVarious
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